Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

XPO's Ernie Budlowski Drives Straight to Connecticut Grand Champion Title

Connecticut TDC Grand Champion Ernie Budlowski
Grand Champion Ernie Budlowski of XPO Logistics is flanked by Rick Alexander (left), whose company, Whelen Engineering Co., is a primary event sponsor; and Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut. (Photo courtesy of MTAC)

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Ernie Budlowski of XPO Logistics drove straight to the Straight Truck title en route to claiming Grand Champion honors in the Connecticut Truck Driving Championships in Windsor Locks on June 8.


The 2019 National Truck Driving Championships

Qualifiers | Map | Photos | Video

Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level have advanced to the national competition, where a Grand Champion will be crowned

What: Contestants are judged on a written examination and their driving skills

When: Aug. 14-17

Where: Pittsburgh

Budlowski will be joined by eight other class winners at the National Truck Driving Championships in Pittsburgh on Aug. 14-17. Last year’s Grand Champion was Mark McClure, who competed for the second straight year in 5-Axle after winning Sleeper Berth in 2016-17.

Tony Spero of ArcBest Freight posted the highest written score and also won the Flatbed class.

CONNECTICUT ARCHIVE PAGE: Recaps, previews and more

Forty-two drivers were supported by 18 volunteers. The 70th running of the competition was held at the FedEx Freight facility, where it has been for the past 10 years with one exception: The 2015 TDC was staged at the New England Tractor Trailer Training School.

Bruce Latronica of FedEx Ground was named Rookie of the Year. The Pre-Trip Award went to FedEx Freight’s John Greene, who prevailed in 5-Axle.

The family-friendly event started at 7:30 a.m. with driver roll call and concluded with the awards program and barbecue that began at about 4 p.m.

Punctuality played a part in the scoring. MTAC imposed a 25-point penalty on late registrations received after May 28.


Grand Champion Ernie Budlowski of XPO Logistics (fourth from right) poses with all of the division winners, each of whom qualified for the National Truck Driving Championships in August. (Motor Transport Association of Connecticut).

Class winners advancing to nationals:

  •  3-Axle: Glen Cooke, FedEx Express
  •  4-Axle: Andre Antropov, Martin Brower
  •  5-Axle: John Greene, Fedex Freight
  •  Flatbed: Tony Spero, ArcBest Freight
  •  Sleeper Berth: David Bryant, FedEx Freight
  •  Tank Truck: Paul Brandon, FedEx Freight
  •  Twins: Mike Errick, YRC Freight
  •  Straight Truck: Ernie Budlowski, XPO Logistics
  • Step Van: Tim Besta, FedEx Ground